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UKDR: Deforestation Regulation Announcement from UK

The UK has announced significant steps to combat deforestation by including palm oil, cocoa, beef, leather, and soy in new trade legislation. The announcement was made at COP28 as part of Nature Day. The laws are aimed at ensuring that products sold in the UK are not linked to illegal deforestation. This move seeks to protect natural resources and habitats, while assuring British consumers that their purchases don’t contribute to deforestation.

Through the legislation, the UK government recognises that agricultural expansion, driven by increased consumer demand is the largest driver of deforestation. To address this, the UK government is introducing new legislation in The Forest Risk Commodities Scheme which will be introduced through provisions in Schedule 17 of the Environment Act 2021.

Businesses that have an annual turnover exceeding £50 million and consume more than 500 tonnes of regulated commodities each year must set up and execute a due diligence system, like the ones created by Trade in Space. The law applies to any regulated commodity and its derivative products that these businesses use in their commercial activities within the UK. Additionally, businesses cannot obtain these commodities from sources that involve illegal land use

The commodities in scope for the new regulation include Non-dairy Cattle products (beef and leather), cocoa, palm, and soy. Civil sanctions will include unlimited financial penalties. The government have said that any affected organisation will have a grace period to prepare before the first due diligence reports are required.

“Trade in Space is dedicated to assisting organisations in monitoring and adhering to environmental regulations that impact the trade of commodities. Our services focus on tracking deforestation, global forest changes, land use, and commodities mapping. Our toolkit at Trade in Space is called Sustainimaps and it leverages globally recognised datasets, ensuring our customers are well-positioned to comply with the new Forest Risk Commodities Scheme” – Alexandra McIntosh. Head of Programmes at Trade in Space

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